JEANNETTE, Pa. (KDKA) – Even in a school year already unpredictable and troublesome for many in the Jeannette City School District, Monday morning’s announcement the district canceled classes before the school day began caught students and parents alike off guard.

“I was walking to school and one of the janitors came driving by and said school’s canceled today,” said 8th grader Aidan Kuhn.

Freshman Cale Kuhn said, “I was confused because we have school every day and it wasn’t a canceled day last night.”

And parent Cynthia Pretlor said, “You have kids out there trying to get a bus, parents gone to work, and I think it’s very very shady.”

The announcement comes as the district is dealing with rumors of a COVID outbreak and the unexpected death of a long-time employee as well as a large number of teachers calling off due to illness Monday.

The Southwestern Region of the Pennsylvania State Education Association confirmed later Monday one of their union members working in the Jeannette City School District died from coronavirus.

KDKA’s Ross Guidotti contacted the Jeannette Area Education Association regarding word of a large number of teachers calling off, asking if it was part of a planned effort to get the district’s attention to COVID concerns. The union categorically denied the accusation.

So between the students and the parents, there’s a lot of worries, innuendo and supposition as to what’s going on. As for the district they released a statement, superintendent Matthew Jones writing the following:

“There will be a special emergency meeting of the Jeannette City School District School Board on Monday, November 23, 2020, at 7:00 to discuss current events related to community COVID-19 infection rates and instructional options available to the district.”

You can watch the meeting here.

What happens Tuesday depends on what comes out of Monday night’s meeting. For freshman Cal Kuhn, he hopes it means back to the classroom soon enough, although he’s not holding his breath.

“You can’t see your friends or anything, it’s hard to learn online, it just sucks,” he said.